tv Charlie Rose WHUT March 18, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EDT
welcome to our program. as you know, monooccasions we have talked about the crisis in libya and what the united nations might do. earlier this evening, the u.n. security council voted to impose a no-fly zone over libya. ten of the council's 15 members voted in favor, while russia, china, germany, india and brazil abstained. the resolution which was proposed by britain, france, and lebanon also authorizes all necessary measures to protect civilians. the vote came hours after colonel qaddafi said on state radio that there would be no mercy for the opposition forces in benghazi. the bbc reported british and french warplanes could make initial air raids as early as friday. we'll have more on this story on
our next program on friday evening. tonight we take a look at what's happening on the question of nuclear safety. >> i'm not enthusiastically in favor of nuclear but i'd be wary of moving too quickly to exclude a zero carbon source. >> as an advocate of nuclear power, i would say this is going to be a setback. i don't think it's going to stop the development of nuclear power. japan is kind of a unique situation. >> i just don't think a species like ours that makes mistakes can play with fire like this. i think the numbers on the dice are too big to be rolled and we've seen that three times. we've seen that at three mile island and chernobyl and now we're seeing it again. >> couric: also this evening, the actor bradley cooper and the director neil burger talk about their new film "limitless." >> it's a very interesting question because in regards to
robert den nero. my memory of my scenes with him, if you asked me about, for example... you saw it, you know scene in the... when i'm hearing that the woman's dead on the television. my memory of those scenes, i can't remember what i was doing to let you know the audience member what it is that he's going through because i really... he was so present, bob was so present, that i was just talking to him and my memory that i wasn't doing anything. i was fearful that i wasn't conveying it and when we watched it i thought, oh, wow, that is actually the most fun about acting is when you're literally just listening and it just comes out of you. because if you affect it-- with an a-- then you're in trouble. >> katie: the debate about nuclear safety and the future of nuclear energy with bill conducter, michael levy and jonathan schell plus a conversation about films and acting with actor bradley cooper and director kneel burger when we continue.
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>> rose: the tragedy in japan has revived questions about the safety of nuclear power around the world. several countries are taking more caution going ahead. gemini announced seven nuclear reactors built before 1980 will be team fairly shut. china has suspended approval for all new nuclear plants until the government can issue revised safety rules. the obama administration has defended the use of nuclear power in the united states. testifying on capitol hill yesterday, u.s. energy secretary steven chu said the administration still supports expanding nuclear plants. some advocates continue to argue that nuclear power is an important way of reducing carbon emissions, others say the risks are too high. joining me now are three authors who have written about nuclear power, jonathan schell, michael levi of the council on foreign relations and bill tucker who's written widely on the issue and has this book called "terrestrial energy: how nuclear power will lead the green revolution and end america's energy odyssey."
so what should we say at this moment no matter how that plays itself out but understanding this is about nuclear power and a natural disaster. what do we say about the future of nuclear power? >> as an advocate of nuclear power i would say this obviously going to be a setback. i don't think it's going to stop the development of nuclear power. japan is in a unique situation. but really it's going ahead so rapidly in the world now. there are 65 reactors under construction all around the world. china's got 20 all by themselves. these countries have realized it's nuclear or coal and china has had enough of coal. you can't breathe in the cities and they've seen the future and they've said "we're going nuclear." and they may step back or a month or two and say, well, we're going look at it, investigate. what's going to happen in this country i think it will hang in
the balance. it's a very strong argument that we should be trying to... going ahead with it for carbon emissions purposes and just for general... >> rose: there will be overwhelming carbon emissions unless we find an alternative source of energy? >> yeah, yeah. we... yes. >> rose: michael? >> i'm in a different camp here. i'm ready to throw in the towel on nuclear power. >> rose: really? >> yeah, absolutely. i just don'tedly that a species like ours that makes mistakes can play with fire like this. i think the numbers on the dice are just too big to be rolled and we've seen that three times. we've seen that at three mile island and we've seen it at chernobyl and now we're seeing it again. mind you, each time it's a different cause you know? at three mile island there was a stuck valve. at chernobyl they had a power surge at the wrong moment. now we have an earthquake and a
tsunami. and there are also airliners that can crash into these and terrorist attacks and things we can't even imagine right now. so i think the time has to come-to-pull the plug on this. i say that with great regret because the argument on global warming is one that really tells with me. >> rose: right. >> along with the nuclear dangers... >> rose: how many people were killed at three mile island. >> no one. >> so if those are the big three... chernobyl, one of them a series. >> let's first wait to see how this plays out. not just the specific consequences but what we learn about what actually happened. i think it will take a lot of time to learn about that i'm not enthusiastically in favor of nuclear. but i'd be wary of moving too quickly to exclude a zero-carbon source. we don't have all that many other ones to turn to. we have hydropower which has limited. we have lower carbon sources than coal like natural gas, but
those come with their own constraints. we don't know exactly how those will play out. and we have options with potential like wind and solar and perhaps carbon capture and ste quest ration but none of those are demonstrated at scale and a reasonable price. so cutting out options is a dangerous thing, too. >> you see, i think to use nuclear power to resolve global warming can be self-defeating in its own terms. i think what we've seen is this is a disaster prone technology and the disasters can be on a colossal scale and this is some kind of a disaster, we don't know how large. and it threatens... we can easily see the paths by which it can succumb to bigger disaster. if we put our foot on that plank. is we spend our precious and scarce billions of dollars on this solution and ten, 20 years down the road of the nuclear rens sans some country becomes uninhabitable because of a nuclear power plant and we have to close them down all over the
world, that's going to be a tragedy from a global warming point of view, of dependence upon a flawed technology. >> well, i think that it's a matter of the time... how much time it takes for these disasters to unfold. cole is kind of a disaster in itself in that the e.p.a. estimates 24,000 people a year die from the effects of breathing coal dust and so forth. that's the choice as far as our base load is concerned and with coal it's a slow progress but the toll is pretty high. >> yeah, well i think, as michael says, there are other alternatives. i don't think it's a straight dual between nuclear and coal. there are other alternatives and maybe you know better than i what percentage of the energy we need to replace could come from nuclear but i don't think it's a... >> we get half our electricity from coal now. that's what we got in 1976 when we abandoned nuclear. we were actually declining coal at that point, then we gave up
on nuclear so what happened? we burned twice as much coal as we did in 1976 and i it it's going stay that way. >> rose: jonathan has an important point about the need to be resilient to surprising developments. >> you don't want to double down in a huge way on nuclear and end up facing a situation in 20 years where where you need to move away quickly. i'm much happier to be looking at the u.s. policy options than to be looking at the french policy options. france can't think flexibly about nuclear power because 80% of its power comes from nuclear. it doesn't have much in the way of flexibility. here we have nuclear as a healthy part. in might become larger or somewhat smaller but we also have options in particular because of development miss in the last few years we have natural gas as an option. so it's this diversity that i think needs to be one of the guiding principles. not a master principle but one of them in moving forward. there are shocks that can come in any part of the system. >> i think the rest of the world has pretty much made up its mind
it's going to go ahead with nuclear. you have 65 reactors under construction. countries like india and china don't have any choice. they have to go. and they're moving ahead of us in the technology now. we're the lager. we think in many ways... we still think it's our choice as to whether the rest of the world... >> because already we've seen the chinese back up. there's already been a back off in china. >> in tonight with two months they'll say well, we looked at that... >> well, what you said was true up to march 11 but after march 11 i'm not sure it's going to be true and i hope it's not true. >> rose: china and india are focused on bringing in foreign technology and it's important to rib as much nuclear that is building that's dwarfed by the coal they're getting. so they're building up gas, renewables, coal. but nuclear is still a very small slice. but potential lay much larger one down the road. >> rose: let me ask this question. one of the five myths michael
writes about are... these are the five. the biggest problem with nuclear energy is safety. that's a myth. >> yes. >> rose: why is that a myth? >> well, the biggest problem for progress of nuclear energy is cost right now. nuclear cannot compete on cost with coal and in particular with natural gas. in the absence of some kind of regular on climate change. it's just too cheap to build a gas-fired power plant. too expensive to build a nuclear one and in part because of the environmental and safety risks you have to go through a lot of regulatory processes. you need to build roads... if you're lucky. you need to build robots containment, protection as you should. but all that introduces cost and uncertainty which makes it expensive to finance plants so that builds costs on top of costs and you have a hard time competing. now if we started to put a price or carbon or something similar and natural gas prices ticked up a bit you could sihanouk leer competing on cost.
so i look at safety as affecting the future of nuclear through regulation. >> rose: you have said also among those myths-- i'm skipping over a couple-- it's a myth nuclear power is the key to energy independence. i assume because of the cost factor? >> because energy independence, when people talk about it... and we can set aside that's practical, is about oil. nuclear power is about electricity. until you can put a power plant on the back of your car you're not... we can talk about electric vehicles but once you've figured out how to make an electric vehicle you can power that with anything you want. it's the electric vehicle that's the key to backing out of oil, not the nuclear power. >> rose: how much of imported oil goes into transportation? >> about 70% of u.s. oil consumption goes into transport. 2% into power. >> rose: the last point you say here-- this is a myth-- better technology can make nuclear power safe. would you also say if i made the point nuclear... better technology can make nuclear
power safer? >> rose: well, that's the key contrast. it can make nuclear power safer in the high tech realm. we talk about next generation nuclear reactors, the passive cooling systems that don't rely on external electricity, like the systems in japan and we have lower tech advances like more robust containment devices for these plants. but you can't eliminate every risk because you can't assess every risk. so you have to first decide whether you are willing to tolerate the potential consequences of something happening and you need to prepare to deal with those consequences. when we have really ugly potential consequences, we tend to put all of our effort into prevention. look at the gulf oil spill. >> rose: >> here's the safety problem as i see it. what you're dealing with here is a nuclear chain reaction. it's the same thing you get in an atomic bomb. in order for it to be... >> well... >> it's a nuclear rain reaction. it is. >> rose: >> it's not a bomb. >> no, it's not a bomb and you
can't have a nuclear explosion in that sense in a nuclear power plant. but this stuff is the fire that burns in the center of stars. in order to manage it-- whether as a weapon or in nuclear power-- you have to control it. you have to manage it. you have to moderate it in about eight different ways. and so all this safety has to do with cooling and moderating. it's very humdrum technology for cooling and so on. but we just know that when you have a big bureaucracy, a big industry spread out over many countries-- whether governmental or private-- that things go wrong. this type of thing is just inherently fallible. and it's the essence of this technology that it wants to burn too hot for us. and unless we're perfect we can't keep it cool and that's what we see in japan. >> how is that different from fire? >> well, you can't contaminate an entire country from one
fireplace. >> how many people have been killed by fire in the history of... in western europe. >> rose: you're making the argument, then, that we ought to stay with nuclear power because it has not killed in the incidents we have had as many people as other things have. is that the argument? >> i'm saying all these technologies have risks franking is going to... we've become very very risk averse. that's my point. we say three mile island. nobody was killed there. but it was a horrible thing. we've become risk averse. the rest of the world is not as risk averse as we are. >> rose: and even the germans are taking a look at it. >> well, they're in the third... >> they've decided to climb down again and are rethinking it because of global warming. >> rose: do you think this will slow down the nuclear renaissance? >> yes. in this country if there is a
renaissance going on it's going to slow down. in the world... korea is the spearhead of nuclear technology, russia is taking people's waste. i don't think the world is going to slow down very much. not even the japanese. >> rose: nuclear waste, the russians will take it? >> that's it. yes. they'll take it off everybody's hands and recycle it and sell it back to them. >> rose: there's this argument made also in terms of american nuclear companies. some will say in the end what caused the tragedy in... after the tsunami, what caused the tragedy to happen in the nuclear reactors was the absence of electricity. the power went away. >> right. >> rose: and they will say we've covered that up one side and down the other. we have all kinds of strategies for dealing with a blackout. >> yes. and they've done a lot, particularly with the next generation of reactors. but it's important there are multiple lessons from this one is there's a specific failure
mode we need to be thinking about and it's an action and the reactor combined with something that puts out the generators. but the other is sort of a lesson that we don't always think about the possibilities and we have to admit that. we aren't going think about every possible instant that might happen. that's why we have to figure out whether and how we can make this fail gracefully. and i think jonathan would say it's impossible to make that happen and we need to pay attention to that, too. >> rose: have the japanese thought about a tsunami? >> i suspect that they had. tsunami is a japanese word. >> they'd thought of typhoons, that's why they put the generators underground. that made them more susceptible to tsunami. so there's always tradeoff. n thinking ahead. it's very hard to think of everything. >> rose: do you have an opinion as to how the japanese have handled this so far? >> i think they've done reasonably well. it's a different culture. they're very face conscious. they don't... their corporate executives don't like to come
out and be very emotional about things and i think the americans... having americans over there saying "what the heck is going on here?" that's certainly helped. >> you've got two challenges... >> rose: go ahead. >> they've got two challenges at once. the first challenge is that they have all these different things happening. not just a nuclear situation but hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes. 10,000 plus dead which makes things extremely difficult. the second challenge is with information. on the one hand they want information out there quickly to reassure people and they don't want someone accusing them and withholding it. but the you get the information out too quickly you can be wrong and if you're wrong you lose the public confidence and your entire crisis management strategy goes out the window. >> rose: do you believe that 20 years from now we'll look back and say this was a game changer about nuke here? >> well, that remains to be seen and i think it will depend on how terrible the disaster really turns out to be in japan. but i think it's very likely to
be because already nuclear power plants are so heavily subsidized by the state because they're not economically competitive as michael was saying before. but let me just... >> rose: they are economically competitive? >> they're making $2 million a day. every reactor in the country. it's a gold mine. >> that's because tunisia capital costs are paid off. >> well, they're 30 years old. capital costs do retire. >> rose: but aren't they war ride about some of those plants? the age? >> everywhere in the world these are subsidized incredibly by governments and private investors will not go boo into this business without a government subsidy. >> now they won't. all the reactors... >> well, now is what we're talking about. >> all the reactors we have were built by private companies at a loss. we haven't licensed anything in 30 years. nobody knows. >> rose: some people argue it's the aging plants that provide a real threat and that america's stockpile... they haven't build anything since three mile island. >> it's an evolving technology.
we should have been evolving. you make improouchls... >> rose: so we may be at a disadvantage in this country? >> we've stopped evolving. other countries are ahead of us now. in terms of technology and safety and all those developments. >> rose: you were going say? >> i just want to say that the safety issue is not by any means the only one... the only argument against nuclear power. >> rose: what's the other? >> the other two are really first that it's an open spigot for nuclear proliferation. all you have to do is look at what's going on in iran and north korea right now. traditionally nuclear power plants have been used as a kind of cover for nuclear weapon programs and especially when it comes to building the fuel cycle. that's number one. number two is nobody has yet figured out a place to put the waste. >> rose: russia, he just said. >> well, they haven't done... >> number one... >> but they haven't done it except finland. finland is the one country
making headway in this. >> france recycles all its waste. it's all in one room and i was there. it's about the size of a basketball gymnasium. they have 30 years worth of waste from producing 75% of their electricity in the floor of one room. that's the advantage of nuclear. it's so small. >> including all of the hot components? >> yeah, yeah. that's it. they reprocess. when you reprocess, 95% of the fuel is natural uranium. >> right, but they're still looking for a depository. they don't consider that to be a solution for the next 100,000 years and that's how long you have to keep the stuff. >> but you've only got one room's worth of stuff. >> yeah, but for 100,000 years you have to babysit that stuff for 100,000 years. >> i agree you that there's the waste problem, i wouldn't go down the reprocessing route because it opens up nuclear weapons problem more and because it's expensive. it's cheaper to use natural uranium. >> well, the nuclear wednesday, i mean, we've looked at the world and it said, well, we don't want other countries to have nuclear bombs therefore
we're not going to reprocess in this country. what is that? they're just going do it themselves. the north koreans didn't build a bomb out of our plutonium, they made their own. >> rose: and gave it to the pakistanis. >> okay. is up >> but i think you'll agree if the world goes down a plutonium route and reprocessing that's a disaster for proliferation. >> we should have done reprocessing. we should have said to countries we'll build your reactor and take it back when you're through and handle it ourselves. if we were doing that, the russians wouldn't be doing it for us. and if we... we would have some control. we don't have any control over this at all. we're in fifth place as far as nuclear technology. >> rose: russia is building a nuclear facility in iran. >> yes, sure. sure. they're building in the egypt. morocco. everybody's ahead of us now. the koreans won the contract from the united arab emirates. >> you have to remember that one
is a great example, that's probably subsidized by the state in korea. so if the united states wants to subsidize those nuclear firms, that's another story. i don't think that's what you're arguing for. >> no, i'm not, but i don't think we can sit here and say, well, we're not going to do it. >> rose: but you don't think the united states could get control over reprocessing on a global basis by leasing reactors to other countries. we're way beyond that. >> that was what... that's the whole principle... that's what the russians are going to do, they're going to say we'll give you the fuel... >> the united states may get a piece of it that way. but the approach solving the problem in many countries will s they'll just go ahead with reprocessing out of national pride. and they're doing so in iran right now, russia, china, south africa they get into it. argentina and brazil are thinking it over. >> well, probably that will happen. >> so it's not a solution for us to lease out to other countries. >> we would have control. >> you're arguing we don't want the world to have nuclear weapons therefore let's forget
about the technology. >> no, but i think we should be arguing in international court not to go down this path. >> you've just written my essay that i couldn't in the there was about... and it's important to think about it systematically. you have to part of the technology used to produce fuel, then you have the reactor, then you have to part you might use to dispose of the fuel or to reprocess. the reactor has some proliferation danger but by far the least proliferation danger in the system. so the first focus and the focus consistent across the bush administration and the obama administration has been to try to prevent the spread of those two sensitive parts on either end while allowing or even encouraging the spread of actual reactors. to the extent that we can make that division, we succeed in separating to a good extent proliferation from the spread of nuclear power. the question is can we do that? when you get to this part about u.s. reprocessing, i think it's important to have one powerful country shows an example that you don't need to have reprocessing.
if every major country has reprocessing it's a lot more difficult for us to say, look, iran, you don't need it. it's good to have one counterexample. >> i don't understand this logic at all. but let me say what's happening in korea. we had a treaty in 1974 with korea. we'll provide you with the fuel, we'll take it back. this is the way we should do it. we'll take it back and reprocess it. unfortunately we don't have anything to process so we haven't taken it back but the treaty is up for renewal now. korea is the leading country in the world. they're selling all over the world and we say we'll continue to supply you with fuel but you can't reprocess. they want to reprocess now themselves. you can't reprocess. you know what they say to us? who the heck are you? you're not building reactors, we're building reactors all over the world. who the heck are you to tell us? where does that get us? >> it's a tough road to be going down. >> for us. >> rose: thank you very much.
>> rose: imagine a drug that would allow you to use 100%--100%-- of your brain's capacity. an idea is the driving force behind a new film starring bradley cooper and robert de niro. he's eddie murrah, a writer who gets the tap into his full potential. here's the trailer for the film. >> see that guy? that's me. my excuse for looking like this? i'm a writer. >> eddie, maybe it's time to let the writing go. >> but in case you think nothing ever happened to me... >> eddie moira. >> tell me about this book. how much of you written of it? >> not one word. >> i suppose i can help you with that. you know how they say we can only access 20% of our brain? this lets you access all of it. it's in clinical trials and it's f.d.a. approved. >> just out of curiosity and that's all.
>> i was blind but now i see. >> a tablet a day and i was limitless. i now had cultural appetites. >> since when dough do you speak italian? >> i finished my book in four days. >> i'd like to renegotiate my advance. math became useful. $2.3 million in ten days. >> i'm baffled by this guy. eddie mora, you know you're a freak. what's your tse sdplet >> medication. >> whoever the hell wrote your life script i'll open up a line of credit for you. you'll be wanting a few toys. >> how many of us ever know what it is to become the perfect version of ourselves? >> 12.5. >> i'll take it. everything i have i want to share with you. >> what are you doing, honey? >> you think somebody's watching
>> my brain is skipping time. i have no memory of the last four days. >> i'm in the 21st censure doing something mean... >> your powers are not earned. you're careless with those powers. ever ask yourself what you're going to do when you run out? you'll die. ♪ no one's meant to have all that power... ♪ >> there's no scenario in which you lead this life where you don't work for me. >> no scenario? i see every scenario. i see 50 scenarios. that's what it does, carl, it puts me 50 moves ahead of you. worth the risk? what would you do? >> rose: bradley cooper joins me. also the film's director neil burger. i am pleased to have him here to talk about a very interesting film and a very interesting idea. great to have you here. >> thank you. >> rose: thank you for coming. let's talk about the book first. how did this book come to be
made into a film starring mr. cooper? >> well, leslie dixon, who's the screen writer, found the book in a second hand bin in san francisco and it had come out, i think, around 2000 or something like that and it's a really good book but it didn't catch. and she found it and she loved the concept and wrote a screenplay. >> rose: it's a perfect movie concept. >> it's a great film. >> rose: something changes your life so you can live a fantasy life. >> what would you do if you could take a pill that would open up all of your brain. >> rose: so what happened then? >> she wrote the screenplay and it was at universal at that time and they came to me and she and the producer came to me and they had seen the movie i'd done called "the illusionist" which they liked and they asked if i wanted to be involved. so i... >> rose: when they came to you was there a lead actor in mind? >> there wasn't. there was a list of people, which is sort of the way it goes. and so then once they had a...
me on board we started to look for people to be in it. >> rose: there was pre-"hangover" or post? >> this was pre-. >> rose: oh, my god. >> and we all love bradley and then "the hangover" hit and he was suddenly available to us and we were lucky to... >> rose: tell me what happens to eddie. who is eddie and what happens to him? >> eddie is a guy who has a book contract living in the east village and that was cool when he was about 25025 years old. but now he's 35 and still hasn't written a damn thing. >> rose: (laughs) writers block and more. >> and more. life block. >> rose: yeah, life block. >> and we meet him on if day where his girlfriend dumps him. he's about to be evicted and it's not so much that he feels sorry for himself, it's that he's come to terms with he's not going to fulfill what he thought he would in life. runs into his ex-wife's brother, says "how are you doing on that book?" "i haven't signed anything." i have this pill, it's f.d.a. approved, it will help you focus.
he takes it what the heck, i got nothing to lose. all of a sudden this pill opens up all of his brain. >> rose: extraordinary powers. >> changes the snap seize neurologically and he can recall anything that he's ever heard touched, talked, felt emotionally since the womb, basically. >> rose: he can write. >> so he writes that book in four days. that's the least of his... >> rose: accomplishments, right. >> then he learns languages, plays instruments, meets people, goes off to islands and... then he comes up... he dives off this cliff, comes up... and this is where the movie really starts and he says "there's something bigger i want and i'm going to need money to get there." in comes robert de niro's character. >> rose: he plays? >> a character called carl van loon, a financial mogul, sort of like a george soros type who hears about eddie and he wants to use him for his own advantage. in business he has a merger that he's working on and eddie seems to be able to process information, reams of information that are involved in
a merger more quickly than any of his other guys. >> rose: >> and it's a high return on investments. >> rose: >> yes. so he comes to him and wants to be in business with him. >> rose: you had met detier roe before. >> yeah. (laughs) >> rose: if you've met de niro you never forget. especially you're in his profession. >> that's right: or want to be. >> rose: or want to be. or want to be him. >> yes! let's just put it plain and simple. >> rose: i want to become a de niro wannabe. >> that's right. that's right. i went to the actors' studio and he came to our school. >> rose: you're brad? >> a b.m.f.a.. and that was first time i saw him when hi came to our school and i asked him a question. >> rose: are the audience or in person? >> from the audience. and i was just... >> rose: what was the question? >> the question was from "awakenings" the movie. there's a scene where his character wants to go for a walk
outside but he has to be looked after. he doesn't have that kind of freedom but robin williams character, that doctor, has been administering this new drug that has been work bug it's just starting to not work anymore but he doesn't want to let that on. so when he's doing this interview his parkinson like tics are coming back so in order to make up for that so they don't know it's happening he pretends to rub his eyebrow so it's like that. it's such a sad moment watching this guy so vulnerable. and i thought this was a stupid question because so so specific and i thought maybe he wouldn't remember this. so i said did you... is that something that happened in the moment or was that something when you interviewed parkinson's patients that you found that they were embarrassed by that they would try to make up for something? and he said no, no, i didn't see anybody do that. >> rose: did it instinctively? >> did it instinctively. >> rose: that's why he's robert de niro. >> right. >> he's amazing. >> i think it was like the second day of shooting we're doing the scene in the office and i'm taking in everything
he's doing trying to figure out... what a gift i have working with this guy. i remember we're... the scene is he gets up from the desk and he walks over to the table and i'm by the table and right before action he... and he's going to walk back to the table and right before action he says "hold on a second" and he walked back to the desk and he took his glasses off and he went like this, because the glasses were on the table already, his reading glasses. but he wanted to... he didn't want them there because that's not where they would be if-the-had just put them down. >> rose: ah! >> because when he wanted to walk back over, the glasses would be where he would have put them down. and it was such a small thing but i thought oh, that's beautiful. >> rose: >> it gives him momentum ruling into a scene to have everything... >> it was so specific. >> rose: he's been here at this table and he was wonderful talking about a movie he directed. >> i saw that "the good shepherd." >> rose: that's right. >> but the amazing thing about him is that for all that talent he's not crazy about talking about the craft.
and yet you know you want... i tried to get brando to do the same thing because brando watched this show religiously and would call me up and tell me what he thought about something and if i was doing movie stars he would say "why aren't you doing science?" but you couldn't get them to talk about the craft of acting. dehere in vo hard. to see those kinds of people come to a table like this. >> well, he's not interested in small talk. >> rose: well, this is not small talk. we're talking about craft. >> he didn't doesn't like talking about himself. one of the funny things on the set was it is difficult to... i mean to get him to be talking about that. then i would look over at bradley and bob and they would be across the room getting ready for something and they'd be talking like school girls. and i'm like are they talking about? >> rose: what were you talking about? >> how is he getting bob to talk about that? >> maybe it's the italian irish upbringing. i don't know. >> rose: but there was a moment in which-- i think this story is
is correct-- a moment in which you had auditioned with an audition tape for a role. and he said to you "you're not going to get this. it's unlikely you're going to get this. however don't give up." >> don't give up baseally is what he said. i had put myself on tape to play his on? the movie called "everybody's fine" that sam rockwell played wonderfully. and my mother played him in the scene. we filmed in the my house in venice and he asked to see the tape and called me in just to tell me that. >> rose: you're not going to get the parole but i want to take this opportunity to let you know there's something there. >> yeah. >> rose: roll tape. >> creative problems, huh? >> yeah. >> well, i suppose i can help you with that. just this once. >> oh, no, no. >> you don't even know what it is. >> you're still dealing. >> brother, i am light years from that now. i've been doing some consulting far pharmaceutical company.
>> what, like some offshore lab making fake viagra? come on. >> no, this is an exclusive product coming down the stream next year. they've had clinical trials and it's f.d.a. approved. >> just out of curiosity-- and that's all. what's in it. >> they've identified these receptors in the brain that act and you know how they say we can only access 20% of our brain? what this does, it lets you access all of them. >> so you're really doing something every director has to do which is a conversation between two people. how do you approach that? >> you want to service the emotion of the scene. what's going on? what are the beats in the scene? where did the scene change? where does the power dynamics between the two characters change? but you also don't want to make
it... when two people are sitting at a table there's only so many ways you can shoot them. you're shooting him, you're shooting him. or you're shooting a wider shot. and i was trying to break out of the tierney of that and move the camera a little but try not to have it be gratuitous so there's some time when it swings from one kharker to the other, again, to sort of... there's moments where verne asks a question and then we pan over to see eddie who says not one word and try to make those into dramatic moments. >> rose: as an actor, what are you thinking when the camera's on the other character and you have no speaking part at that moment. you're being shot for obvious reasons. >> i'm off cram? is that what you mean? >> rose: the camera's on you. all you need do is usual facial expression to communicate to an audience what you are hearing and feeling as this person
speaks. >> well, hopefully. (laughs) hopefully... >> rose: if you're working at 100% capacity. >> if i've taken my pill i'm listening to whoever's talking to me. it's a very interesting question because in regards to robert de niro, my memory of my scenes with him, if you asked me about, for example... you saw the scene when i'm hearing that the woman is dead on the television. my memory of those scenes i can't remember what i was doing to let you know, the audience member, what it is that he's going through because i really... he was so present, bob was so present that i was just talking to him. and my memory is that i wasn't doing anything. and i was fearful i wasn't conveying it and when we watched it i thought, oh, wow, that's the most fun about acting is you're literally listening and it comes out of you. because if you affect it-- with an a-- then you're in trouble. >> for either of these two actors, what do you communicate
to them? >> well well you try to find the key word. you might say faster or with bob it was sometimes saying colder to make his character as this intimidating cold guy. >> so you just go up to him and say, bobby, colder. >> i'd say colder. (laughter) he was incredibly collaborative and that was the most flattering thing. he asked for direction and he took direction and he modulated >> rose: what does he ask? >> he basically asks.... >> rose: is it cold you have? >> sometimes. how am i doing? >> rose: cold enough for you. >> yeah, how am i doing. the sometimes too cold. often it's an energy level thing to match what came before and, you know, a lot of the work is done in preproduction where we sat... i sat withays talking about the character, talking about individual lines and things like that. so hopefully when you come in the shoot-- and same with bradley-- that we have a short hand and we know... we have hit in the right place and then it's
just tweaking it. sometimes it's completely off. something's completely wrong and we were talking about that before about like how... the key thing with bradley's character is when he's on the drug what does that mean to be on the drug. how is he. is he... and we started sort of drifting off into more robotic that he was so together that he was... >> almost like cyborg. >> yeah and we realized that at a certain point and we righted it. but it took some... we were like what are we doing? we're going a little bit off the rails here. >> the audience is going to fall asleep. >> it was getting boring. >> rose: having said this architecture about the conversation about acting, this is a scene where you meet lindy and you show her these new talents and skills that you have. tell me what went into that. >> well, a lot of preparation in
terms of dialogue because eddie on n.z.t. has to... there's no stuttering. it's almost like learning... being able to recite shakespeare almost like verse instead of prose. and leslie dixon is a very talented writer and she wrote wonderful dialogue. so that had to be by rote. and the other thing was the languages. eddie speaks many languages but you see four of them in the movie. >> rose: roll tape. here's a scene. (speaking spanish) (speaking italian) >> since when you do speak italian? >> oh, self-improvement month. i guess somebody had a wakeup call. >> well, i hope you didn't do it for me. >> no, i wanted to apologize to
you. let you know that apparently my capacity for self-sabotage wasn't boundless after all. the real question is why did you ever put up with me? >> i was in love with you. >> rose: what's interesting about this performance for me is that you're two different people. so in your mind you want to show what about him and what are you making sure you don't do? >> well, one thing i slope that it's not two different people but two different versions of one person. >> exactly. >> and number two is it's a confidence thing and ease. a lack of ego. what would if you had no... there was no reason to get you to like me or fear me or anything. because i'm operating on such a high level that my need is to utilize my access. that's it. that could be very boring and that's where... if there's no
obstacle... >> but is part of what you have to do is make this believable? because you want the audience to go with the fact this could have in fact, happened. >> i see what you're saying. how do you play a guy like this? and i made certain connections personally that had nothing to do with what it would be to be on that drug because i wouldn't have had a play that you could read up on neurological science but how could i inhabit that? so i did something completely different that then doing in that in in that scene you view "the view"er would go because of the imaginary circumstances he's on n.z.t.. >> rose: is there a message in this him? >> i think less a message than a question in the film. in a way the movie's a fable but... instead of having a simple moral at the end it really raises questions that are... thorny questions about... >> rose: which are? >> which are... >> rose: if there was a drug would you take it? >> would you take it. what are the costs. if you could cure cancer because you were on this smart drug?
nothing wrong with that. if you're just doing it for enhancement, is it just... is it the same thing if you can get a nose job or a r you getting a brain job now? and is that okay? what are the... what are the... and is it moral which is de niro's great speech. you were a stray shot of sperm. >> rose: exactly. >> you haven't climbed the greasey rungs to get there. it's a great thing he says that. >> rose: and it's a truism, too. you're much more comfortable if you know you've earned it rather than somehow looked into it. >> so people would be happy to luck into it all the time. there's an athlete who hits it over the fence. was it the steroids or the athlete. >> rose: you think they question that? >> i think it's a question. >> rose: for them >> not necessarily. because they're getting a big check maybe they're less worried about it. then there's medical implications. >> rose: indeed. look at this. we're talking about robert de niro. here is a scene in which he
warns eddie there's no competition for him because, as we were talking, he hasn't paid his dues. >> well, in order for a career to evolve i'm going to have to move on. >> that you would even think that would only show me how unprepared you are to be on your own. you do know you're a freak. your powers are a gift for from god or chance or a stray shot of sperm or whoever wrote your life script, a gift not earned. you do not know what i know because you have not earned those powers. you're careless with those powers. you flaunt them and throw them around like a brat with his trust fund. you haven't had to climb up the greasey little rungs. you haven't been in the fund-raisers. you haven't done the time in the first marriage to the girl with the right father. you think you could leap over it all in a single bound. you haven't had to bribe or charm or threaten your way to a seat at that table. you don't know how to assess your competition because you haven't competed. don't make me your competition. now, i'll open up a line of credit for you. you'll be wanting a few toys.
>> rose: so you were going to say about this scene? >> i remember when we were shooting that scene heshgts's so good and the message in this scene is i'm a fraud, basically. i haven't earned my place. and i were looking into bob's eyes as he's talking to me and i thought "god, is he talking to me?" (laughter) "should i leave?" i really felt like, god, he's so good that i actually got very hurt that robert de niro was telling me that i was a fraud. >> rose: all right. one more scene here. here it is. >> something funny? i don't know what... how to fight. or do i?
>> that was a great example, i think, of showing what the benefits of the drug can be in a fun way. i know for me personally if i'm a guy watching this movie, all the hours i spent watching. with. withw.f. or "enter the dragon" to utilize that if i'm jumped by six guys, it's a kid's dream. >> rose: and the motion of the flash backs. >> that he's able to access everything he's seen or heard and... >> rose: act and employ. >> and draw conclusions and,
yeah, act on it, basically. >> rose: you're directing a film here written by someone other than you. >> yes. liberating, actually. >> rose: is it really? because you don't have to worry about the script everyday? >> a little bit. i had to worry about the script to a degree but there's something... when you've written something and you're going to direct it, you're the authority and it's great. there's a power that comes with that. on the other hand, there's a tyranny of the original idea, i had it set in a garage and that's where it needs to be. whereas in fact if you were an outsider they'd think "why couldn't bit in an office?" so that was the challenge and the great fun, inventing a whole visual language for how he sees the world. so i enjoyed it. >> rose: coming off of a film like "hangover" which did quite well at the box office. having a chance to be offered a whole variety of kinds of roles, what do you... what kind of
advice do you get for saying look, we know what's happening to you. we know the sort of escalating dark... >> it's all about filmmaker. if you look at the great careers of actors, look at the filmmakers they've worked with, there's... it's not a coincidence. >> rose: well said. >> it's about working with the film maker, about the material and the actors and that's it. i remember listening to george clooney on this show talking about when he had this idea of his career in t.v. and he made all these moves and then he got "e.r." and he said "i learn mid-lesson. and he said and then i started doing movies and i did "bat unanimous" and i have to relearn everything again." >> rose: did you ever come off a failure? have you known failure? >> oh, my gosh! is that a joke? (laughs) of course! oh, my gosh. >> rose: but failure is what? knowing that you did not... it's not just being in a movie that
didn't do as well as you thought or being in a piece that didn't do as well or a scene. >> there's two points. two notions of failure to me in this business. one that is very destructive and one that isn't as long as you realize... if you have perspective. the one is being a part of a movie, let's say "a-team" that i put my whole heart into. >> rose: at the box office because it cost so much to make? >> that's right. it didn't bring in revenue they thought. but i walk away from that completely proud of it. but i did this play called "three days of rain" on broadway with julia roberts and pall rud and the first character i really felt i got there, i explored it. rudd. to this day it gets me, i never quite got the second character. >> rose: when did you know that? >> every (beep) time i went on stage and i was sitting there... >> rose: you knew in the rehearsals? >> we tried to get into rehearsal and it just... i... i wish i had more time. i wish i had more time. >> rose: there a hook or something... >> that's what you hope. >> rose: the way you walk, i think you've said before.
>> for this movie it was when i read the script is when the hook came. >> rose: but what was hit in the script? >> it was the blood-drinking scene. i was reading the script, i felt the guy and then i read that scene and i thought, oh, yeah, i got it. which is interesting. you never know when it's going to come. >> rose: how are you changing in terms of all this whole process of preparation? at all? >> the main thing i've learned is to approach everything with an easy touch and heart and just approach it with a much more lared energy. because that's when you can open up. >> rose: it's the hardest thing to in the world to do, isn't it? as an athlete they have people that will say... certainly basketball coaches say you've got to play within your game. you cannot be... you can't go with 100%. you have to be... you know, there's a term, i'm not remember it right now but making sure you are in control of your game and that you're playing within yourself. right? >> well, you can't force yourself to be... >> you have to feel a certain ease.
>> in life one inform it is other. it's about being present here with you, with you right now is the same thing when i'm approaching the script. there's no difference. >> rose: exactly. >> i was going to say you can't force yourself to be somebody you're not. you might like scar say zi's movies and try to emulate that... scorsese's movies or some other actor but you have to be your own person. >> rose: we still don't know... there's nobody that can tell you what the magic formula for what makes a movie a huge success. >> they're always trying to break it down and the three-act structure gets resolved but you never know. >> rose: because every year good actors are in movies that don't work. >> that's right. yeah. yeah. and some of that's due to there's not enough prep or they're trying to get a movie out quicker or the script isn't ready. even so you can have a great screenplay and a great story and it just doesn't... and a grate movie out of that and for some reason it doesn't... either doesn't work or it doesn't galvanize the audience.
>> that's why there's so many friends in films. off movie that works and there's a formula. okay, let's make nine movies like that. or a performance. that can goo k do that well in that movie. let's get him in this and do the same thing. >> rose: great to have you here. >> thank you, thank you for having me. >> rose: congratulations. you open when. on march 18. that's tomorrow night. >> tomorrow night. >> rose: friday night. "limitless." bradley cooper. thank you for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org la